Riding your bike down the street carefree, with the sun on your back, could be a possibility at Ball State very soon.
The university recently began the process of creating a more bike-accessible campus. The plans were detailed in the Bicycle Master Plan, which were released to the public in March.
RELATED: Ball State 'Bicycle Master Plan' unveiled
The plan’s recommendations will focus on facility improvements in the following areas:
- Campus mobility
- Connections to the surrounding community
- Connecting to and supporting the city-wide effort of the Muncie Arts
"Ball State University has initiated the development of a bicycle plan to increase the safety and mobility of students, faculty, staff and visitors who bike to and around campus," Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, said in an email.
The plan includes changes to bicycle circulation by improving bike parking and creating more on and off-street bike routes to help interconnect the campus. The Cow Path, East Mall and Studebaker West will have off-street bike paths and cycle tracks.
Lowe said that Neely and Petty avenues from New York to the west pedestrian path have already been striped for bike lanes. University Avenue will have bike lanes installed within the next few weeks.
In addition, the plan calls for a cultural trail that will:
- Prioritize separated facilities for pedestrian and cyclists
- Determine the possibilities of bike lanes on streets adjacent to and through campus
- Enhance connections to the surrounding community and critical destinations
- Identify locations for bike parking and the various types of bike parking required
While the university is still in the beginning phases of bicycle master plan, senior theater major Abigail Tomlin said that bike accessibility on campus has improved since her freshman year.
“It was pretty sad how often I ran into things because of there not being enough bike lanes,” Tomlin said. “I think in the past three or four years it’s gotten a lot better and a lot safer for bikes as they go further into their process of updating the campus.”
In addition to creating a safer environment, the bicycle master plan allows for a greener campus and community.
"As we continue our move toward a more sustainable campus, community and society, we need to encourage other forms of travel that mitigate air quality issues caused by other forms of travel," Lowe said. "Encouraging the use of bicycles on campus, and around the community by making it attractive and safe is one step we can take as a campus and community."
While the bike lanes will make cyclists safe, University Police Department encouraged cyclists on Tuesday, via Facebook, to take caution when using the new bike lanes. The post read:
"Many of you may have noticed the new bike lanes painted along Neely Ave. With bike lanes we would like to remind everyone that bicyclist must follow all vehicle traffic laws according to state law and city ordinance.
Therefore, this bicyclist should not be on the sidewalk and is required to stop at this stop sign. If this bicyclist does not stop he risks being hit by a vehicle turning right into the parking lot or any vehicle that can't see him from the left side of the road.
It is also a city ordinance violation for this vehicle to be driving over the bike lane."